[The people from Taisha weren't happy about it, but I told them I would never fight Wasshii~ and her friends~]
[I expected no less.]
Gazing at the sea, Sonoko and Tougou were having a chat. Next to them, was Yuuna in a wheelchair. Some time had passed since the incident, their offerings were slowly being returned. Sonoko was going through rehab, just like the Hero club.
[Tougou-san, I'm glad your memories have returned.]
[Yeah. There are still some hazy parts though...]
The offerings were returned, but the recovery was different for each individual. Yuuna's case was especially severe, for a while.
[But I've remembered the really important stuff. Sonocchi and...Gin.]
The Shinju-sama may be able to give back offerings, but returning a lost life was impossible. Two years ago, Minowa Gin is the hero that fought to save the world from extinction. The couple that evacuated civilians and was late to escape the cataclysm. The Inubouzaki sisters' parents. The lost lives were way too heavy.
[Say...have you heard any details from Taisha, Sonocchi?]
[A little, but we'll talk about that later~. They're not bad news, so for now let's focus on rehab~]
[...I understand, Sonocchi.]
[Make sure you keep your ribbon on~. Even if your memories as a Washio have returned, you're still Tougou Mimori~. It looks good on you.]
[I wonder how I should call Wasshii~ from now on though~. How about Mimorin?]
[No need to force yourself and change it. Wasshii~'s just fine.]
[Then I'll keep using that for now. I'm so happy Wasshii~'s finally back~]
[Sorry for making you wait.]
[What's wrong, Yuuna-chan?]
[T...Tougou-san seems so much more mature, when speaking with Nogi-san.]
[I... Is that so?]
[Fufu~, this is her Wasshii~ mode. It's a bit different from Tougou-san mode~]
[Ahaha, it's pretty tricky.]
[You're the reason I became like this, Yuuna-chan...]
The three heroes smiled as the sea breeze blew. In front of their eyes, the gigantic wall was still standing. When they defeated the gigantic and all-powerful Leo, the Vertex invasions abruptly stopped. In the meantime, Shinju-sama and Taisha worked to repair the wall.
A prophecy had confirmed that there would be no more attacks for a while. Be it a year, or two, no one knew how long this period of peace would last. One thing was for sure, the Vertex would definitely be back. As they regenerated. Again and again.
Several weeks later.
The Hero club's cultural festival skit received critical acclaim.
Tougou, Fuu, Itsuki, Karin. All were still struggling with their Sange after effects, but they were promised complete recovery as long as they continued their rehab. Only Yuuna's recovery was slow, and thus, she was often away for examination.
And eventually, Yuuna and Tougou walked to school together. Yuuna made it her goal to be able to get to school on her own feet, and worked hard on rehab.
The two of them left their homes early, and casually headed to school.
[Yuuna-chan, how are you feeling?]
[I still get dizzy once in a while, but I'm perfectly fine!]
[Make sure to let me know if something happens. When in trouble, talk to someone.]
[Yep, same goes for you too Tougou-san, when in trouble, talk to someone.]
Tougou replied in a formal manner.
Suddenly, a car stopped in front of the two. A black limousine.
[Heya~ you two~]
That slow-paced voice was familiar. Out of the car came Nogi Sonoko, wearing a Sanshuu Middle School uniform.
[We're classmates from today onward~, I'll be in your care~]
Sonoko twirled around once.
The two were in complete awe, as this was news to them.
[You look totally shocked~ The surprise was a success~]
Sonoko laughed with an innocent smile.
Familiar faces had gathered in the club room. And Then...
[I'm Nogi Sonoko, the new applicant for the Hero Club~]
A new hero had joined. Her name was added to the member list on the blackboard.
[My rehab has reached the stage where I can attend class. The obvious choice was Sanshuu Middle School~]
[I never imagined we'd be able to study together again, Sonocchi.]
[Help me out if I fall asleep in class~]
[Make sure you don't in the first place.]
[T-Tougou is being even more severe than usual.]
Fuu was bewildered.
[I know right? But that side of her is wonderful as well!]
Witnessing Tougou's embarrassment, Sonoko...
(I suddenly feel the urge to write something~)
Grinned at herself.
[Welcome aboard, Nogi-san.]
[Just Sonoko is fine~, Prez~]
[Ooh, calling me that already. Unlike a certain someone.]
[And that certain someone is me?]
[Miyoshi-san, I've met your brother a number of times.]
Karin's brother worked at Taisha.
[... Eh... Ah, my brother has been in your care.]
[No need to be so formal, we're classmates now~. I'll call you Nibosshi~ too.]
[Who?! Who told you about that?!!]
[It's gotta be Tougou.]
[...She definitely reminds you of Mino-san.]
[I heard that even when she went through Sange she was still more concerned about me than about herself. That's another thing that's similar about them.]
Miyoshi Karin's terminal originally belonged to the hero that fought alongside Tougou and Nogi, Minowa Gin. They had similar dispositions, which is why it was passed down to Karin.
[I-I'm Inubouzaki Itsuki. P-p-pleased to meet you.]
[I...Itsuki greeted her on her own...Did you just see that?!]
[Yes, yes, you don't need to make a fuss about it, Fuu. You're being rude to Itsuki.]
[So, this is how little sisters grow...]
Ignoring her sister, Itsuki was having a chat with Sonoko.
[Nice to meet you. I'm Nogi Sonoko, Ittsun~]
[Sonocchi gives everyone weird nicknames.]
[Ah, I love it! Then you're Sono-chan.]
[Ooh~ I'll take that~]
The two shook hands firmly.
[Yuuna-san and Sonoko-san get along so well.]
[Still, will you be able to keep up, Nogi? You've been away from school for a long time.]
[It'll only take a few weeks to get back on track. I'll be fine, Prez~]
[Y-You CAN get back? That's pretty amazing.]
[She definitely can, knowing her. Isn't that right, Sonocchi?]
[Nogi? What's wrong?]
[It's okay, Fuu-senpai. She's just spacing out. Sonocchi, Sonocchi.]
[Aah~ Wasshii~. I was just thinking about something~]
[I sense something amazing from this one... As expected of a first generation hero.]
[I'm only a new a member here, so I'll do my best~. Hey, hey Hurray~]
[Ask me about anything, Sono-chan.]
Yuuna and Sonoko, both joined their hands and started dancing.
[This new kid is something else.]
Fuu said with a bitter smile.
[What's wrong, Karin-chan?]
[N...nothing. Nothing at all Yuuna.]
[Alright! We'll be holding the welcome party at "Kameya" today!]
[Udon, right Prez~?]
[The people from the shop will be happy to know we have a new member.]
[Yay~ It's udon~]
Nogi Sonoko was a lover of udon as well.
After the party, Sonoko went over to Tougou's house. Yuuna was probably being considerate. Today, she left them alone. The two had a lot to talk about.
About everything that's happened so far.
About their dear friend.
[Have you heard the reason everyone's getting their offerings back, Sonocchi?]
The other side of the incident.
[As I suspected, Sonocchi. You seem to know something.]
[I know my fair share of things~, I wasn't being worshiped just for show you know~]
[Will you tell me about it? I haven't had contact with Taisha at all. Even after all I did...]
[I was waiting for a chance to talk about it, when all the club members are gathered. But if you wanna know, then I'll just tell you now Wasshii~]
[The Shinju-sama... came to believe in human courage~]
[Soncchi, could you make it easier to understand?]
[If you had continued fighting the Vertex, what do you think would have happened?]
[It would be a living hell for us, but the world would be safe...I think. However, with the outside in that state, eventually...]
[Yep~. It's clear once you see what's outside that wall, right? Us heroes would sacrifice ourselves fighting the Vertex, but one day we'd be overwhelmed and the Shinju-sama would get destroyed.]
[The hard truth about siege warfare...]
[However the Shinju-sama came to believe in the courage of mankind. By witnessing Yu~yu's and everyone's hard work, as well as getting plenty of Vertex combat data, the hero system was updated to the next stage.]
[Updated...to the next stage?]
[Once Taisha is done with the preparations, they will make a big announcement.]
[You don't mean...!!!]
[Yep, the truth behind the wall will be made public to the rest of mankind. The fact that what tormented everyone back in the old Era was not a deadly Virus. And the truth about the Battle of the Seto Grand Bridge as well. It'll feel embarrassing, being talked about like some sort of legend~]
[But that'll cause major chaos! Even I fell into despair after seeing what was beyond the wall.]
[But if they explain how to deal with it, it'll be different~]
[What do you mean?]
[The introduction of the advanced Hero system. They say as long as we have this it will be okay. Apparently, the next update will be mass-production.]
[What about Sange?]
[Gone. The fact that it can be mass-produced means that an invincible barrier is no longer feasible. Sacrifices will no longer be required, but in return the heroes will be weaker than before. However, everyone will be able to fight~. I think that any young girl will be able to transform, as long as they remain pure. That's just me speculating though. I don't know exactly what kind of system they'll be implementing after all~]
[But with the outside in that state, how...?]
[I'm not sure about the details, but they apparently found a solution to that as well. It will be announced at the same time. Something about seeds or whatever...]
[I wonder how the Gods of the Heavens will react to that...There are still plenty of things we don't know about the Vertex~]
[How about this way of looking at things?]
[I think mass-production was their answer, after they came to the realization that a small group of children wielding that much power was too dangerous. Between the six of us, Fuu-senpai almost went to attack Taisha and I tried to lead the enemy to destroy the Shinju-sama, putting the whole world at risk.]
[And I just sat there observing the situation~, completely neglecting my duties.]
[After half of the group rebelled, it was only natural they would try to change the system... and as a result, civilians are being dragged into the fight.]
Tougou murmured to herself.
[You say they're getting dragged in, but it's just as you said before, at the rate things were going, in the end everyone would be doomed~]
Sonoko let out a bitter smile.
[Don't think negatively about the situation. The Shinju-sama believed mankind would be able to walk down the harsh path, instead of a gentle one that lead to its demise. That is why it gave back our offerings and allowed for mass-production of the system so that everyone would be able to stand and fight. Everyone will don their own flower~. Isn't that a good thing?]
[I understand why the offerings have been returned.]
[Even with them returned, recovery is not the same for everybody, right? I am able to walk again now, but some things are still pretty tough~]
[My ear and memories are still far from perfect too...]
[And then you look at Yu~yu who didn't even know if she would get better, being all cheerful. She's amazing. From what I've heard, she forcefully went into Mankai and charged at the center of the enemy's body, then touched its core with her bare hand. I thought that maybe a bug occurred in the system, or her consciousness had been taken away by the Vertex~. When it comes to Vertexes, not even the Shinju-sama's power would be of any use...]
[Or perhaps it was both. At any rate, she was in a really bad state. But she still managed to come back to us with sheer willpower, after hearing our voices. Heroes are all about guts.]
[At first, I thought Yuuna-chan had shouldered everyone's offerings...]
[If that were the case, Yu~yu would really have been unable to come back~. That would make Wasshii~ and everyone sad. I think a Hero is someone who gives courage to other people~. Making even a God think humans got some backbone, she really is amazing~]
[The real fight starts now, we might be picked to fight again. Especially me, since I received no blame for my actions.]
[Wasshii~ can be both a hero and a Miko. You can hear the Shinju-sama's voice and use its power as well. I hear such people are called "Messiah"]
[A Messiah... is... that. I need to strengthen my heart.]
[Now, now, don't take it all upon yourself~]
[I... I know. But the way you said it just, you know, led me to think that way.]
[Ehh~ It's my fault~?]
Before anyone could notice, the mood turned harmonious once again.
In this world that will eventually end, the truth was to be announced. This country is in great danger. Realizing the facts, everyone will have to work together in order to survive. Rather than keeping it a secret and waiting for the end, mankind had to do everything in its power. That's how strong humans are. The one who showed that possibility was Yuuki Yuuna and her friends.
[And that's all I heard from Taisha.]
[Thank you, Sonocchi...]
(...But every time I look at Yu~yu, I feel a bit strange. I wonder what that is~. It feels like something's not right~)
At the Inubouzaki house, Fuu stood in the middle of the living room.
[What's wrong, Onee-chan?]
[Hmm, I wonder if we'll still be needing this plate.]
The plate where Fuu served Inugami dog food.
[But I can't bring myself to throw it away... Being made into sacrifices and all was no joking matter, but the faeries still protected us.]
[You really got along well with Inugami, Onee-chan. You two probably made the best pair.]
[That fluffiness would have been great whenever it got cold. But I don't exactly want him back. This loneliness is so complicated.]
[Onee-chan, I'm not as fluffy but I can help keep you warm in the cold!]
Itsuki tightly hugged Fuu.
[Thank you, Itsuki. Did you get taller?]
Fuu wrapped her arms around Itsuki as well.
Karin swung her swords by the beach as the sun was setting.
[We don't know when the next call for duty might come!]
She still couldn't move her body freely, after going through so much Sange. It'll her take some more time to fully recover. She was told by Taisha to continue her life as a student. However, having seen what was beyond the wall, she couldn't sit still. That's why she swung her swords with undivided attention.
Yuuna ran toward her from afar.
She almost tripped again. Karin firmly supported her.
[I managed to catch you this time.]
[Ehehe, thanks. I just felt slightly dizzy.]
[Again? Be more careful, seriously.]
[Hey, can I come over and hang out at your house today? There's no school tomorrow.]
[I...IT CAN'T BE HELPED!!!!]
Era of the Gods, Year 300.
A new chapter is about to begin.
This is the story of the girls chosen by the Gods. No matter when, the Gods only have an eye for the purest of girls. And in many cases, the outcome is...
For human sacrifices to be abolished, and to stand up to the truth. To achieve genuine peace, not a trifling one.
That is the kind of heroic tale it would turn into.
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